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How to paint your galvanised steel fence – step-by-step guide. 

Galvanised steel fences are renowned for their durability and resilience against the elements, making them a popular choice for all kinds of rural properties. However, while their functionality is undeniable, there’s no reason why these fences can’t also be aesthetically pleasing. 


Painting a galvanised steel fence is a fantastic way to add a splash of colour, elevate the look of your entire property, and further protect the metal from rust and corrosion. 


At Stock & Noble, we provide top-notch fencing solutions and premium paints for high-end properties across Australia and New Zealand. Our fence paints are the result of years of research, offering maximum protection and a sleek look for the fences. Based on our expertise in helping our clients build the most beautiful properties and in-depth knowledge of fence paints, we will share valuable insights for your galvanised steel fence painting project. 


In this article, you’ll learn the 3-step process to paint galvanised steel fence on your property.

Cleaning the New Galvanised Steel Fence 

Applying an Etch Primer 

Applying the Steel Fence Paint 

We will also share some pro tips to make the entire process simpler, faster and better.  


In the end, you will be through with the process of painting on a galvanised steel fence, helping you transform its appearance and extend its lifespan. 

Please note in this article we are only considering galvanised fences that are entirely new, and all welds have been meticulously covered with cold galvanised paint. This careful application ensures that rust has no chance to develop along the fence line. 

Also, the preferred steel fence paint in discussion is a water-based Forever Steel Black Fence Paint. 


Step 1: Thoroughly Clean the Galvanised Steel Fence 

Cleaning the fence is the foundational step in this process. We believe it’s probably the most critical step for the success of your painting project. 

No matter how well you paint your fence or how amazing your steel paint is, if the fence isn’t cleaned well no paint will be able to perform well. 

Proper cleaning is essential for the primer and thereafter the paint to form a strong bond with the steel surface. 

Keep in mind that new galvanised steel often has an oily layer and even when clean it is still regarded one of the most and is one of the most difficult substrates for paint to stick to. 

Learning further about the 3 proven methods to clean and prep your galvanised steel fence will prove valuable in painting your steel fence beautifully. 


Step 2: Apply an Etch Primer 

When it comes to painting galvanised steel, using the right primer is crucial for achieving optimal results. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

Importance of Etch Primer 

While certain paints, like Forever Steel Black, contain additives that act as self-primers, it’s highly recommended to use an etch primer. Galvanised steel is notoriously challenging to bond with, but Stock & Noble’s steel etch primer is specifically formulated to tackle this exact issue. It’s designed to create a secure bond with the steel surface, serving as a solid foundation for the subsequent layers of paint. 


Primer is Not a Topcoat 

It’s important to note that the etch primer shouldn’t be considered a topcoat. Its purpose is to provide an ideal surface for the topcoat paint to adhere to, rather than being used as the final paint layer. 


Choose the Right Primer 

There are various primers available, including oil-based and water-based options. In our recommendation, water-based products are preferable. They offer several advantages, such as ease of application, quicker drying times and eco-friendly constituents. 

After thoroughly cleaning your fence, you can promptly, safely, and easily apply the etch primer. Within a couple of hours, you’ll be ready for the top coat. 


Minimising Contamination 

Opting for a water-based etch primer allows you to work efficiently without concerns about dust and grime settling between the primer layer and the subsequent paint layer. This reduces the risk of imperfections and ensures a smoother finish. 

Applying the right etch primer sets the stage for a successful paint job on your galvanised steel fence, ensuring both adhesion and durability. 


Step 3: Applying Two Coats of Steel Fence Paint 

When it comes to painting a galvanised steel fence, the application of the top coat of paint is a critical step that ensures both aesthetics and durability. 

Here’s what you need to know: 

Design of the Top Coat 

The top coat paint is formulated to serve as the final layer of protection and appearance enhancement for your galvanised steel fence. Its purpose is to bond effectively with the previously applied primer, creating a robust barrier against various elements, including UV rays, heat, and the inevitable wear and tear from animals interacting with the fence. 

Importance of Multiple Coats 

We strongly recommend applying a minimum of two coats of top coat, especially for black fences. This is particularly crucial due to the intense heat that black surfaces absorb, much like a black car on a scorching summer day. By applying two coats, you’re subjecting the fence paint’s durability and adhesion capability to a rigorous test, ensuring it stands strong against the elements over time. 


Application Techniques 

Applying the top coat can be accomplished using a brush or a spray gun if the fence paint is designed for such application. It’s vital to adhere to the recommended drying and curing period specified by the paint supplier, usually indicated on the packaging. 


Allow Ample Drying Time 

For optimal results, it’s advisable to wait until the top coat thoroughly dries and sticks to the galvanised steel fence before allowing animals back into the paddock. Typically, a standard wait time of around 48 hours is recommended to ensure the paint has adequately dried and set. 


These guidelines are tailored to our Forever Steel Paint product. Please note that if you’re using an oil-based product, the curing or drying period may extend due to the properties of the paint. 


By diligently following these steps, you can ensure that your galvanised steel fence receives the protection and appearance enhancement it deserves, ensuring it stands the test of time while maintaining its visual appeal. 


Pro Tips for Painting Galvanised Steel Fences 


Tip #1: Optimal Painting Areas: Prioritise and Protect 

When undertaking the task of painting your galvanised steel fence, some areas require more focused attention than others. By targeting specific zones, you can ensure not only a visually appealing result but also a prolonged lifespan for your fence. Here’s what you need to keep in mind: 


Tops of Rails and Posts: The tops of both the rails and posts should command your utmost attention. These areas are particularly susceptible to weathering and wear.  When water accumulates in these regions, the sunlight that shines through can magnify the effect, ultimately challenging the paint’s endurance. Providing a robust layer of fence paint in these critical zones ensures prolonged protection. 


Durability and Interaction: Notably, the areas mentioned above often experience significant interaction with both the elements and animals. Horses, for instance, tend to chew on these portions. Hence, reinforcing these areas with quality paint not only adds to the fence’s longevity but also addresses potential challenges posed by animal interaction. 


Tip #2: Do it in a Day: Clean, Prime, and Top Coat 

For optimal results, it’s recommended to perform the cleaning, priming, and top coating stages within a single day. This approach prevents the possibility of contamination or dust settling between layers. Timely execution ensures a smooth and flawless finish. 


Tip #3: Paint Selection and Considerations 

 The longevity of your fence’s appearance hinges on your choice of fence paint. Opt for a paint that aligns with your desired timeline for aesthetics. Investing in premium paint designed specifically for steel ensures the best outcome. If aesthetics aren’t a primary concern, you might explore more economical alternatives. 


Tip #4 Don’t Avoid the Etch Primer  

Irrespective of your paint selection, we strongly advocate the use of an etch primer. This primer acts as a foundation for prolonged paint adherence, resulting in a fence that maintains its appeal for an extended period. The benefits of using an etch primer far outweigh the initial effort. 


By dedicating attention to these guidelines, you’ll not only achieve a beautifully painted galvanised steel fence but also guarantee its lasting splendour and durability. 


Ready to Paint Your New Galvanised Steel Fence? 

You’ve recently installed galvanised steel fences and are looking to enhance their looks and protect them with quality steel paint. Now you know how to get started, enjoy the process and the best way to wrap up this project successfully. 


In this article, we’ve guided you through a simple step-by-step process to paint your galvanised steel fence: 

Cleaning the fence thoroughly to ensure proper paint adhesion. 

Applying an etch primer for a strong bond between paint and steel. 

Adding two coats of top-quality paint for both protection and aesthetics. 


We’ve also shared some pro tips to make your painting journey smoother and more effective. By paying attention to critical areas, choosing the right paint, and following professional guidelines, you’re investing in the long-lasting beauty and durability of your fence. 


Remember, your galvanised steel fence is more than just a practical element; it’s a canvas that can reflect your style and enhance your property’s overall appeal. It’ll be worth investing time into comparing different paints for galvanised steel fences and choosing the one that matches the needs of your property and your vision. 


If you have more questions on painting steel fences, choosing an etch primer or the right techniques and application of fence paint, go ahead and book a consultation with our experts. They will answer all your queries in detail and guide you to achieve a beautiful fence. 

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